I usually cite Raiders of the Lost Ark as my favourite film and this week has been marked in my calendar for months as the time to see the new Indy film after a 19 year gap. Today I did and I’m still not sure what to think. So more after the cut.
Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve watched the previous films on TV and they’ll never win prizes for well-honed plots or brilliant sparkly dialogue but what they are most of all is fun. I love the last-minute rescue from death, the magical gizmos, the sheer absurdity of it all. Indy is a brilliant hero, a quiet teacher until he dons the costume.
On one level, this film still delivers, for most of the ride I was with it, enjoying the banter, the silly story, the chases, the ridiculous baddy. The references to the previous stories were nice, if a little ladled on at times. I so want to know what Indy got up to during the war and the missing 20 years, to see those stories; not the Young Indy Chronicles but the Tales of the Middle-aged Indy. Those hints left me wanting to explore the world a lot.
But there were 3 things that threw me out of the film, that brought me back to me. The first was the CGI stuff, just a little too much at times. I love watching ‘Making of..’ stuff and know that much of the other films were done for real. Here, you could see the joins a little too much.
Second was the Tarzan moment. Why? Just did not do it for me. far too ridiculous.
Then was the final reveal – extra-dimensional aliens????? Spaceships???? Now, to be honest, aliens are probably more believable than superpowers from god that kill Nazis or cause instant aging so why did it make me go ‘Huh’? Because I went in ready to suspend my fantasy belief, to know that it’s all going to be mysterious and unknown and then they tweeked my sci-fi belief. It’s different belief muscles, different mindsets, so it just threw me out of the mood.
I still liked the film, but for me it ranks third in my list. I love Indy, but prefer the supernatural version. (but still want to know what he got up to in the war 😉 )
Update: been discussing this with Ewan Spence and then we got onto the James Bond books, both the Young Bond and the new one that gets released next week, Devil May Care. I can so see a story in the 30’s or 40’s with Bond and Jones up to mischief. They’d hate each other!